Local News


Cause of death released for former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

New audio from scanner traffic obtained
Posted at 1:26 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 08:53:25-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Former Zappos CEO and visionary Tony Hsieh died of complications from smoke inhalation, according to Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

His death was also ruled accidental.

Hsieh’s death was reported the day after Thanksgiving. He was injured during a house fire in Connecticut on Nov. 18.

The fire took place at a home in New London. Hsieh, who brought the online shoe retailer Zappos to Las Vegas in 2004, died a week later.

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According to previous reports, the fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Firefighters were told upon arrival to the home that a person was “trapped” inside.

The fire appeared to have happened in the basement of the home, according to the Hartford Courant. The newspaper also says that the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the New London fire marshal.

13 Action News has also obtained an audio recording of New London radio communications from the day of the fire that indicates firefighters had to pull Hsieh from the storage room in the home.

You can hear on the audio: "The male is barricaded inside. He's not answering the door. Everyone else is outside the house. They're trying to get him to open up."

Then it continues: "We have one victim being pulled from the fire now unresponsive. Being pulled from the fire now unresponsive and we're calling the hospital."

Records show that the home was purchased in August by Rachael Brown. A woman with that name has been a longtime Zappos employee and close associate of Hsieh's.

Hsieh retired as CEO of Zappos just a few months ago. He moved to Park City, Utah, and began buying properties there. It was rumored he hoped to start a version of the Life is Beautiful festival in Park City.

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In addition to being known as the rather unorthodox CEO of Zappos, Hsieh invested $350 million in downtown Las Vegas in an effort to revitalize the area.

Numerous new businesses and companies were a result of that investment, including the Downtown Container Park and Gold Spike hotel.

RELATED: Petition to rename downtown street in honor of Tony Hsieh